Author Archives: CEFO coordinator

New frontiers of climate governance: imagining the modern timber city

Image source: Sumimoto Forestry

On the 17th of November the Cemus research Forum had the pleasure of welcoming Bregje van Veelen. She gave a talk about the emergent imaginary of the ‘plyscraper, which is available below:

Bregje summarizes the talk as follows:

Climate governance must be a project of not only regulatory undertaking, but also of deep-rooted societal and spatial (re)imagination. But how do we re-imagine our world, who is involved, and what is left out? In this presentation, I explore these questions in relation to a still underexplored front of climate action: proposals for a revolution in low-carbon materials, that seek to establish a 21st century bio–economy. Specifically, I will do this through the emergent imaginary of the ‘plyscraper’, which put timber skyscrapers at the heart of the vision for low-carbon living of the future. While the use of wood in construction has long been practiced (as evidenced by the red timber houses that dot the Swedish country side), what makes the new timber imaginary different is that it positions itself as distinctly urban and modern. But how ‘green’ is it? How does the imaginary establish timber’s green qualities and with what effect? By exploring the jostling involved in bringing this imaginary into being, I consider a number of yet unresolved issues around establishing the green/low-carbon qualities of this new frontier of climate action, and the broader implications for climate governance

Helena Fornstedt, Coordinator CEMUS research Forum

A Green New Deal Beyond Growth

On the 3rd of November Riccardo Mastini joined the CEMUS research Forum via zoom. He started off with a very appreciated talk followed by a nice and interesting discussion. The talk is available below:

Riccardo summarizes the talk as follows:

The emerging political discourse of the Green New Deal postulates the need for an active role of the State in the economy to drive the ecological transition by deploying the power of public investment and coordination. However, a truly transformative Green New Deal must also move beyond the ‘growth paradigm’ by decreasing energy and material use in affluent countries, decommodifying the basic necessities of life, and democratizing economic production. The paper, with the same name as the talk, is available here

Riccardo is a PhD Candidate at Institute of Environmental Science and Technology (ICTA), Autonomous University of Barcelona. He is a policy advisor for the international campaign Green New Deal for Europe. He is also a member of the academic collective Research & Degrowth and of the international network Wellbeing Economy Alliance. You can follow him on Twitter, Facebook, Youtube and LinkedIn.

Helena Fornstedt, Coordinator Cemus Research Forum

Low carbon energy narratives and futures in Africa: Dissonant times?

On the 20th of Oct 2020, Yacob Mulugetta had a seminar at the CEMUS research Forum, titled “Low carbon energy narratives and futures in Africa: Dissonant times?”. Mulugetta is Professor of Energy and Development Policy at University College in London and among many other things he was Coordinating Lead Author of the Energy Systems chapter of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 5th Assessment Report.

It was a very interesting talk and it raised many questions which led our discussions to last well into lunch. Professor Mulugetta’s talk is available here:

You also find his own summary of the talk below:

It is widely recognized that energy production and use is both a key reflection of the socio-economic landscape as well as a major driver of the climate challenge. Africa finds itself at the heart of a momentous global energy and climate conversation. The energy and development reality across the region evokes deep emotions about the importance of doing something about the scandal of energy poverty. As if this was not complex enough, there is a call for the region to chart out a new and responsible energy pathway: one that does not impact on the global climate system. To this end, numerous real world experiments are taking place across Africa on various ‘energy futures’ to simultaneously unlock local (and national) energy potentials and deal with major global challenges. What is also emerging is how ideas around the ‘energy-climate challenge’ play out is highly dependent on the multi-level political context and dynamics, and is thus deeply influenced by competing framings and narratives. These dominant and competing accounts, in turn, interact to shape the specific interventions and policies. This presentation/discussion will explore the dominant narratives that are shaping the African energy landscape, how these narratives are constructed and mobilized, and discuss ways to open alternative and energy possibilities that protect the wellbeing of poor communities and their climate. The talk will also sketch out the research and policy opportunities in this area.

Helena Fornstedt, Coordinator, CEMUS Research Forum